The acquisition of firearms is one factor that has been controlled by governments in all parts of the world due to the risks that are associated with firearms if mishandled or if control measures are not set to protect the members of the public. In most countries, laws permit only a limited number of people to possess firearms and these persons are usually licensed to ensure that their arms are not illegally acquired. Despite the numerous attempts to control the possession of firearms, people still maneuver their way out and acquire firearms through the black markets (Phythian, 2000).
This is referred to as arms smuggling or the illegal trading of firearms.
Arm smuggling was largely popularized in 1945.
This was large as a result of restrictions that prevented a free flow of some trading products to some states (Phythian, 2000). During the Cold War period, the restrictions were overemphasized by foreign policies and were used as a device for the Cold War. An example of the policies is a policy that was passed in 1949 by the Western Powers to block the exportation of all kinds of military personnel and the related military types of equipment to the Eastern parts hence forcing their firearms to the Middle East which forced the use of illegal means to acquire firearms. However, up to the Cold War era, illegal trading in arms was often in light arms. Lately, there has been an increase in arms smuggling to incorporate heavy machinery; this poses a substantial danger to the world as a whole.
The increased popularity of the black market is a result of the high profits in these markets. However, the high profits attract numerous people to the market-leading to increased competition. The increased supply of arms is harmful to any country due to easy access to arms illegally. Additionally, rebel groups are empowered due to the ease of access to firearms as they feel that they are well equipped to handle any dangers (Phythian, 2000). The rebels groups train their people to ensure that they are well manned to forcefully take power or to inflict insecurity in the target government.
The smuggling of arms has led to a rise in insecurity in all parts of the world more so due to the increased regional conflicts. Heavy machinery is not only destructive to a small portion but some can have an effect on large areas hence affecting even innocent people (Phythian, 2000). Arms smuggling has increased the risk of some states as they are at risk of being suppressed by other countries due to their weak military prowess. Additional problems of arms smuggling include the high costs incurred by the governments in fighting the influx of arms and fighting the increase in crime due to the influx of arms.
In conclusion, the Cold War contributed greatly to the illegal trade in firearms. The increased influx of illegal arms from the increased illegal trade has led to increased levels of insecurity of the people of all countries in general. Government restrictions on the easy access of firearms by every citizen have contributed to seeking alternative ways of possessing firearms leading to the rise in illegal dealings in firearms. Consequently, this has led to increased regional conflicts and the separation of politics from trade affairs. Thus, governments are able to address the problem of illegal arms without any biasness; however, there are still numerous challenges in the war against illegal arms. Illegal arms trading is growing on a daily basis and thus new strategies to curb the rise in trade need to be developed by all governments in all parts of the world.
Phythian, M. (2000). The illicit arms trade: Cold War and Post-Cold War. Netherlands. Kluwer Academic Publishers.